A draw/paint of the discovered turtle with rounded shell.
A group of Spanish scientists has discovered on the coast of Portugal a kind of turtle of 140 million years old ( Jurassic period ) , the oldest found in Europe of " Hylaeochelys " family.
The finding sheds new light on the behavior of this ancient marine reptile and opens new tracks on the Iberian Peninsula million years ago , said the Spanish researchers who participated in the study.
"We knew this kind of turtle in the Lower Cretaceous levels in England (about 140 million years ago) , while the Portuguese is older , belongs to the Upper Jurassic ( 145 million years ) ," he told Efe Spanish paleontologist Adam Perez -García , principal investigator.
The turtle , named " Hylaeochelys Kappa" , measuring about half a meter long , lived in freshwater areas and was characterized by a rounded shell.
The discovery provides novel evidence to the scientific community to review the theory of how this animal was distributed by the Earth as the fossil of Portugal is older than the British .
"This is the only genus of freshwater turtle that has been identified in both the Jurassic and Cretaceous in Europe ," noted Perez -Garcia, who has conducted this research along with the professor of paleontology at the UNED, Francisco Ortega.
The work of paleontologists began after the discovery in 2011 of a shell in the Portuguese beach of Porto do Barril de Mafra ( 40 kilometers north of Lisbon ) by an associate of the Society of Natural History of the Portuguese municipality of Torres Vedras .
Scientists quickly dated the she. In this case , it was not possible to apply the test on fossil carbon 14 , the most common in archeology, because of the extreme antiquity of it, said Francisco Ortega.
Spanish paleontologists studied the shell in order to establish a relationship to other families of turtles and have concluded that it is related to the " Hylaeochelys " of England.
"We received the shell , we investigate and we have seen that this is ' raw ' English turtle, to explain it so plain ," said Ortega.
The Spaniards have dubbed " Hylaeochelys Kappa" for reminding creatures from Japanese mythology the name ' kappa ' , a kind of anthropomorphic turtle.
These creatures have the Japanese shaved head as the Portuguese friars of the sixteenth century, so that researchers have established a link between the tonsure of the monks and such Nipponese the time to put a name to the new turtle beings.
The Spanish palaeontologist Francisco Ortega is also scientific director of the Natural History Society of the Portuguese municipality of Torres Vedras , reflecting the close cooperation between Spanish and Portuguese institutions in science .
Specialists from both Iberian countries working on projects such as the Upper Jurassic fossils , which Ortega 's coordinator.
The finding of " Hylaeochelys Kappa" is also a " small success " to better understand what life was like in the Iberian Peninsula million years ago , he judged .
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